Sister Elizabeth was teacher, spiritual and retreat director, founder of spirituality center

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Elizabeth Toohey shared her joy and deep spirituality along with her love of music and art through teaching, leading retreats, spiritual direction and commitment to social justice.

Sister Elizabeth, who grew up in Omaha and who also was known as Sister Julianne, died Jan. 3 at age 85 in Richfield, Minnesota.

A private prayer service was held Jan. 12 at her order’s motherhouse in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, with burial in the motherhouse cemetery. A funeral Mass will be held at a later date.

Born in Spalding, Nebraska, her family moved to Omaha when she was young, settling in St. Cecilia Parish. She attended St. Cecilia School and the former Cathedral High School before entering the Dominican sisters in 1956. She professed perpetual vows in 1959.

Sister Elizabeth taught at schools in Milwaukee, Sinsinawa and Madison, Wisconsin, Chicago, and Florence, Italy. She served her order as director of initial formation and as secretary for the Office of Social Justice in Duluth, Minnesota.

She also worked as spiritual and retreat director, and workshop presenter in Minneapolis, where she founded the Wholistic Spirituality Center. After her service there, she continued her retreat and spiritual direction ministries in the Minneapolis area until her retirement in 2018.

Sister Elizabeth was preceded in death by parents, Jules and Mary (Vande Vegt) Toohey; brothers, John, Robert and Gerald; sister Rita Roccaforte; sisters-in-law, Dorothy and Ginny; and nephews, Tom Roccaforte and Jay Johnson. She is survived by a sister, Margaret Johnson; brothers-in-law George Johnson and Lew Roccaforte; numerous nieces and nephews; and her fellow Dominican sisters.

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